Thinking Aloud: Volume IV, Issue 3: August 1, 2017

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SANEM mourns Dr. Saman Kelegama’s unexpected and untimely departure. The August 2017 issue of Thinking Aloud is dedicated to his memory. In the first article titled “South Asia’s greater integration in Asia: A non-Indian perspective” Dr. Selim Raihan argues that though the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) has created significant opportunities of gains for India, who is the sole party from South Asia, being the non-members of RCEP, this has led to some important implications for the other South Asian countries. There are concerns that the RCEP will lead to the escalation of bars in standards and trade governance and potential loss of market access from the erosion of trade preferences for the other South Asian countries. Therefore, other South Asian countries should negotiate for their participation in the RCEP, and such an ‘extended RCEP’ would lead to the meaningful integration of South Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia and the Pacific. The article titled “The Demon is not as black as people think: challenges and prospects of ETCA” by Dr. Ravi Ratnayake advocates for the Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) between India and Sri Lanka and believes that if ETCA is properly implemented, Sri Lanka can reap substantial benefits. However, the Sri Lankan economy needs to be adequately prepared before the implementation of ETCA. Dr. Prabir De writes on “20 years of BIMSTEC” and stresses on the importance of the BIMSTEC FTA and improving connectivity among the BIMSTEC countries. One of his recommendations is that the BIMSTEC countries may consider a Schengen type visa for certain group of travelers or a BIMSTEC Travellers Card (BTC). Dr. Posh Raj Pandey writes on “Nepal’s trade prospects and challenges with South Asian countries” and emphasizes that the most crucial constraint Nepal faces is its supply-side and productive capacity, both ‘production related’- ability to generate exportable surplus, and ‘competitiveness related’ – ability to supply competitively in external markets. This constraint has largely been due to deficiencies in infrastructure, human capital, trade facilitation and limited access to finance and technology owing to governance failure as well as the state’s inability to make optimal provisioning of public goods. The fourth page announces the call for the 3rd SANEM Annual Economist’s Conference (SAEC) 2018, which has been dedicated to the memory of Dr. Saman Kelegama.

Link: Thinking Aloud: Volume IV, Issue 3: August 1, 2017